Serverless User Management

By Ryan Squires Posted December 28, 2018

Serverless User Management

IT management tools are moving over to the cloud. While this transition has been happening for a number of years, the identity and access management (IAM) space has largely stayed on-prem. But, now a new wave of serverless IAM solutions are emerging. As a result, IT organizations are becoming a great deal more comfortable with serverless user management.

Fading Microsoft® Dominance

Identity management with Microsoft Active Directory

Traditionally, the approach to identity management started with Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD or AD). This made a great deal of sense since the IT network was largely Windows-based and on-prem. IT admins could manage user access to Windows® systems, servers, applications and the network itself. The aforementioned traditional approach has been at work for nearly two decades, but it’s effectiveness has started to wane with new, non-Windows introductions into the IT environment.

Add-on Reality

shifting IT environments to the cloud

Now that IT environments are shifting to non-Windows resources based in the cloud, IT admins are faced with new challenges. The legacy user management path (AD) simply doesn’t work as well when trying to authenticate users to these resources. So, a whole ecosystem of add-on solutions has emerged to supplement Active Directory.

Here is a small sampling of Active Directory add-ons:

  • Directory extensions or identity bridges to non-Windows systems, e.g. Mac® and Linux® endpoints
  • Identity security improvement tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA, two-factor authentication, or 2FA)
  • Web application single sign-on solutions (SSO) to push AD credentials to popular apps including Slack, Salesforce®, GitHub, G Suite™, and many more
  • Governance tools related to event logging and more
  • Network access / security solutions like RADIUS and dynamic VLAN assignment

How does this setup work exactly? Well, AD remains as the core identity provider and stores all the user credentials in one central location. The add-ons sit on top of Active Directory and extend those credentials out to non-Windows resources. While IT admins gain the ability to manage user access to Windows and non-Windows resources in AD, this setup is not only expensive but also a hassle to maintain.

Serverless User Management Possibilities

Serverless user management for Mac and Windows

Now, think about shifting all of that functionality into a serverless user management model. All the on-prem infrastructure you need to authenticate and authorize users is gone from your building. Gone along with that infrastructure, the requirement to utilize a strict diet of Windows-based platforms. That means Mac and Linux machines are no longer left in the dark. Users can access Amazon Web Services® (AWS®), Samba/NAS devices, web-based applications, RADIUS-protected networks and virtually anything else your users need to access is within reach, no add-ons required. All told this new cloud identity management approach can securely manage and connect users to their IT resources including systems, applications, files, and networks regardless of platform protocol, provider, or location.

Learn More About JumpCloud®

Cloud directory service from JumpCloud

If you’re ready to leverage a serverless user management platform and leave the days of on-prem hardware, add-ons, and everything in the past, feel free to sign up for a free JumpCloud account today. With a free JumpCloud account you can start managing up to 10 users for free, forever. If you need to manage more than that, check out our pricing page and get an idea how a cloud-based solution can both save you money and headaches. Additionally, feel free to check out our blog and Knowledge Base for additional information. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ryan Squires

Ryan Squires is a content writer at JumpCloud, a company dedicated to connecting users to the IT resources they need securely and efficiently. He has a degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Colorado State University.

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